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5 Essential Feminist Books and Essays To Add To Your Reading List

Literature has always been a great way to unite people who share similar experiences and interests. It’s also a great educational tool when it comes to learning things from the perspective of others. Therefore, the next time you’re looking to expand your knowledge on women’s issues, be sure to pick up one of these five essential feminist books and essays:

The Combahee River Collective Statement by The Combahee River Collective

This piece is critical of the exclusion found in feminism. Written by queer Black socialist women, it offers a perspective that has historically been left out of the feminist movement. It is recognized for having developed key concepts such as identity politics and intersectionality, both of which had not yet been explored. It is truly an insightful piece for those looking to be better allies to the Black community. 

The Future Is Feminist: Radical, Funny, and Inspiring Writing by Women

The Future is Feminist is perfect if you are looking for a book that includes a collection of short stories, essays, and poems. Not only is it diverse in its literary genres, but it also offers a variety of topics ranging from sexual harassment to cyberbullying and beauty culture. It features historical pieces such as Sojourner Truth’s Ain’t I A Woman (1851), as well as compilations of contemporary essays from stars like Mindy Kaling and Salma Hayek. 

Don't Call Me Princess by Kate Evan 

Through her witty humor and charm, Kate Evans corrects the sexist undertones often found in fairytales. The piece reminds women of all ages to always look beyond the superficial. The empowering message throughout the book makes this the perfect gift for young girls, reminding them to always remain critical of the damsel in distress trope.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This coming of age novel, loosely based on the author, follows the protagonist Jo and her three sisters from childhood to womanhood. This book, first published in 1868, has gone on to inspire generations of women by exploring themes that challenge ideas of love and domesticity. It has since gone on to be adapted as a tv series, plays, and countless films. 

Women, Culture and Politics by Angela Davis

Activist Angela Davis is no stranger to feminist text. In this piece she studies topics such as racism, violence, and health, emphasizing the importance of advocacy for issues like workers’ rights and the prison industrial complex. It is a captivating and insightful read that is sure to educate readers on these pressing issues. 

While the first wave of feminism began nearly a century ago, the fight against patriarchy is far from over. Each of these books offers a unique perspective on how to challenge sexist ideologies. Therefore, if you find that you’ve enjoyed any of these readings, be sure to share them with those around you - because fighting for gender equality should be a collective effort!

Laylani Cedano is a first year transfer student at the University of California San Diego. She is currently a Communication major and plans to pursue a career as a talent manager in the entertainment industry. During her free time she enjoys roller-skating, thrifting, and hanging out with friends. Some of her interests include music, film, and anything pop culture!
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